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10 Experiences That Change Our Consciousness—How We See and Act to Keep Earth Habitable

The Extinction Symbol [http://www.extinctionsymbol.info/]The 6th mass extinction underway on our planet is a primary indicator that Earth is leaving the Cenozoic Era that has extended over the past 65 million years since the dinosaurs. The Anthropocene Epoch we are in is one of the late, perhaps last, epochs of the Cenozoic.

Will we as humans keep pace with these changes in our planetary home? A major requirement of us is to live with consciousness of these changes. We need to spread out our seeing beyond how civilization has narrowed it. Speaking personally, I want to get beyond the smaller topographies of consciousness that my ego can control, and into topographies much larger, more Earth-size.

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“Seasoned Travelers” on the Heroic Journey

Vine Deloria, Jr./photo credit: WikipediaThe Native American resistance to the Dakota Pipeline Access has received attention nationally and internationally in recent days. The bulldozing of burial sites and sacred sites stirred immediate and immense opposition among peoples of all skin colors. As reported in Indian Country Today Media Network, three agencies of the Obama administration (Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Justice, and Army Corp of Engineers) have stepped in to temporarily halt all construction of the pipeline 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. As I write this, Congressman Raul Grijalva, AZ, a ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee in Congress, is heading for the Reservation to review the complex processes involved.

In light of these events, I include next an excerpt from my upcoming book, From Egos to Eden (available 2/6/17), that includes reference to Vine Deloria, Jr.(1933-2005), a Standing Rock Sioux, lawyer and professor, who so helpfully interpreted Indian activism in the last part of the 20th century.

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The Dakota Access Pipeline—Follow It on "Indian Country Today Media Network"

Photo credit: Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty ImagesWhat many who are caught up in MultiEarth living do not realize is how many First Peoples resist the MultiEarth way. The rude, crude treatment by the Army Corps of Engineers, acting at the behest of oil corporations, to build the Dakota Access Pipeline right through burial grounds and sacred sites of First Peoples is a case in point. It reveals the underlying genocidal thinking toward First Peoples in MultiEarth consciousness. It’s genocidal to think that “Indians are people of the past, not of the here and now, so they and their traditional sites need not be treated respectfully. After all, modern times march on.”

But First Peoples are “here and now,” leading active lives. They have not gone away. A great source to follow the “here and now” participation of First Peoples in the world today is Indian Country Today Media Network.

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China Sets Sights on "Building an Ecological Civilization"

China is taking strong initiatives to clean the soot, toxins, and pollutants out of its air, soil, and water. Given they are also pursuing growth in their economy, the Chinese state is managing conflicting aims. Nonetheless, from within these tensions, China’s 17th Communist Party Congress announced, in 2007, a goal to shape an “ecological civilization.” Details for implementing the slogan, “Building an Ecological Civilization,” are given by the Central Committee in a 2015 policy document, “Further Promoting the Development of Ecological Civilization.” No other country has yet stated an official ecological goal as broad as this one.

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Ego and Civilization: Provisional Efforts, Not Our Best

Thomas MertonThomas Merton (1915-1968), a Benedictine monk, once said, “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?” It was a simple appeal for a new human from a person whose own engagement with the ego-Self struggle brought him to a consciousness large enough that he could cross into thoughts and actions too big for civilization. He learned from Nature, pursued interfaith spirituality, and earnestly believed that nonviolent societies were possible.

On the heroic journey, both our ego personality and civilization are understood to be provisional, not the end point—much in the way a caterpillar is provisional en route to a butterfly. Self knows how to meet Merton’s appeal for a new human.

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Are National Parks OneEarth or MultiEarth?

Henry David Thoreau: Public Domain photo from Wikipedia We will not succeed on our journey into the larger topographies of OneEarth consciousness without increased connections with the Wild. Henry David Thoreau opened others’ eyes to this essential connection when he structured his life to include experiences of wilderness. Far from escapism, his connection with Nature kept fresh his Call to a OneEarth world. Nature often elicited eloquent words from Thoreau as he explained why we humans cannot develop fully within the consciousness of civilization. In his essay Simply Walking, Thoreau wrote: “I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a Freedom and Culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.”

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Predation by "Civilized" Humans More Ruthless than Killing in the Wild?

photo: public domainThe worldview of MultiEarth civilization embodies a highly-polarized and confusing attitude toward wildness. On the one hand, it perceives wildness in the natural world as a threat to suppress and defeat; on the other, it intentionally channels a type of wildness when it wages war, produces TV reality shows, and intimidates and tortures other humans through various enforcement and intelligence agencies. MultiEarth civilization, ignoring its own extensive use of primal wildness in violent actions, makes much ado about the wild violence in Nature. Phrases like “red in tooth and claw” and “the law of the jungle” underscore MultiEarth’s jaundiced view that predation and killing are to be expected in the dangerous, brutal Wild. “It’s a jungle out there” is the same kind of phrase about the predatory behavior of people competing against one another. Perhaps we understood the predation in Nature with more balance when we had to kill the meat we ate. Now that most of our meat comes already prepared or in sterile packaging, it’s as if killing never had to happen for us to eat burgers, pulled pork, sushi, or chicken. Rarely does it cross our minds that every plant we eat has to die.

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